Local animal rescue wins $10,000 donation from Kansas
By Michael Brooks
Animal rescues rely on volunteers and donations and require people that are willing to work all hours of the day and travel all over to help an animal in need, often times using money out of their own pocket.
For the longest time, rescues in small town had it even worse, considering a smaller population means a smaller pool of people who can donate money or volunteer their time. However, social media has changed things.
Thanks to a large social media following and the support of a large percentage of Jackson County locals, Jessica Coleman, owner of Lumpy Lizard Reptile, Poultry, and Exotics Rescue won a $10,000 donation from Wichita, Kansas.
Dubia Roaches, the Kansas company, sells feeder food for exotic animals.
“Dubia is where I buy my feeder insects, worms, etc.,” Coleman said. “They sell mealworms, dubia roaches, feeder roaches, and a lot of my animals eat those. Also, their shipping is really cheap and fast, so I’ve had a preference for their company.”
In return, Dubia Roaches pays back their customers by doing giveaways.
“They’ve done this kind of thing before,” Coleman explained. “The company does a lot to support reptile organizations partly because we’re their customers, but also because a lot of the grants don’t go to us.”
Reptile rescues don’t get the grants because it is dangerous to neuter a reptile, and the grants are written with mammals in mind.
“So, Dubia has taken it upon themselves to make sure we are supported,” she said.
When Dubia did this giveaway, they placed a post on Facebook, asking people to tag their favorite reptile rescue. They then had tiers where the rescue with the most tags wins top prize, as well as second place and so on.
“We’ve won a $1,500 dollar donation and a $5,000 donation before,” Coleman said. “They’ve also sent free animal enclosures.”
This time though, Lumpy Lizard won the big prize.
“I shared the post on my personal Facebook page and on my rescue Facebook page and in a couple of groups I’m in,” Coleman continued. “I didn’t really expect to win because there are so many larger rescues who were being tagged-rescues with 10 and 20 thousand fans, but I started getting notifications I was being tagged.”
Then the big surprise came.
“They will do a top prize and several smaller prizes, so I was thinking maybe we would get $1,000 bucks and we would be very grateful for that,” she said. “We kept getting a lot of tags, and these contest take three days or so, so every rescue gets a chance to see it and get tagged.
“I was checking out at Dos Hermanos and I got a notification we had been tagged by Dubia, and our name was at the top of the post. I gasped so loud our waiter, who was checking us out, was worried about me and wanted to know what happened.”
Most rescues in the area deal with cats and dogs, so when there is a situation with a different kind of animal, Coleman usually is the first one called. Because of this, Coleman never knows what kind of enclosure she will need on any given day.
“We kind of answer whatever call comes in the morning,” she explained. “As far as I know, the next closest reptile rescue is in Houston because I get calls from Beeville animal control and Victoria animal control. This money doubles what is in our bank account almost exactly. It’s huge, especially for a small rescue that works with exotic and reptile animals. I never know what could come to my rescue any day and I may not have an enclosure for it. So, I could spend $5,000 bucks building an enclosure. We rely on donations and reptiles are expensive because they need expensive lighting and specific temperatures inside their enclosures. Their vet care can get expensive, especially if the vet isn’t sure or isn’t able to treat a certain ailment, and then I may have to go to Houston and spend like three times the money.”
The frontman (or frontchicken) for the poultry side of Coleman’s rescue is Mary, who has helped Coleman build a large internet following.
“I have a weird-looking chicken named Mary, who has her own page, and who the internet loves,” Coleman said.
Lumpy Lizard did get a lot of tags from the internet community, but with the win, Coleman found out how much the local community is behind her and the rescue.
“We got a lot of in-county support on this,” she continued. “A lot of people inside Jackson County were tagging us and supporting us. We get a lot of our support online, from all over the country, so it was super-cool having so much support from inside Jackson County too. We are super grateful for the local support we’ve gotten lately. I love Edna and I love Jackson County and the support we’ve gotten here.”
The win also helps with an expansion Lumpy Lizard is getting ready to make.
“We are in the process of a land purchase that will not only give us more space for enclosures, but will also be outside the city limits, so I can take in rooster and swine, which are forbidden by city ordinance, and any other livestock animals. With livestock animals, you have to have a certain amount of space. Being outside the city limits will allow us to rescue more animals and having a facility that is outside my house will allow us to bring in volunteers to clean and help us.”
If you have an exotic animal that needs help, Colman is reachable at 361-235-0486. Even if she isn’t the right person for the animal you call about, she can usually direct you to the correct person.
And rescues always can use donations.
“We accept donations at all times and no donations are too small,” she said. “For Paypal and Zelle: email@example.com, or if you would like to mail a check, 115 W Jay St., Edna, TX 77957.”